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  #1  
Old 07-28-2011, 08:13 PM
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Default Police arrest lady for video taping traffic stop in front of her home.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/06/2...er-front-yard/

And a related follow-up story

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqPZx...ature=youtu.be

What do you guys think about this?


My take:

Cops are public servants and take an oath to Protect and serve the public.

They should expect that their actions should be transparent and may later be criticized, and if they're called out on something they need to be held accountable.

There are some good officers out there that take their jobs and responsibilities that go with them seriously, but there are a lot more out there that abuse their powers regularly and know that in most cases (unless someone records them being out of line) "it's your word against theirs" as a cop told me once when I was a teen, being pulled over for some BS stop like having dark tinted windows or something.

I'm sure over 75% of the people on this forum have been in the same situations with cops thinking they're "above the law", pun intended.

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Old 07-28-2011, 08:18 PM
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if we have nothing to hide there's nothing to be afraid of. same goes for law enforcement.
not all of them are bad apples.

i think freaking out over being videotaped these days is usually an abuse of power, that's my opinion.

i was recently at a cop wedding. an old friend of mine is now an LAPD officer and 2/3 of the wedding party were cops.
a snippet of a conversation from another table, "It's not like we think we're above the law, just don't try to act like you know it better than we do. And if you do, i'm gonna make your night a fucked up one. HAHAHAHHAHAHA!" the whole table uproared in laughter. pissed me off, we had to leave because it bothered me.
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:19 PM
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While you are correct that police officers are public servants and (most* of) their actions should be transparent and open to public criticism that does not mean that you can just do whatever you want when there is police action in front of you.

This lady, Emily Good, is an idiot and she was looking to cause a scene. One of the officers in Good's video tells her multiple times he does not feel safe with her standing behind them and that based on comments she made that were conveniently not on the tape she appears very anti-police. The officer asks her multiple times to go inside her house, he never says anything about her video-taping the incident. She blatantly refuses to go inside then claims she does not understand the order.

Good was given ample warning and explanations to comply with the officer's lawful order but she chose to ignore them and claim ignorance so she was arrested.

The situation is this... the officers made a traffic stop on a vehicle in front of a house. They have a person detained (the male in handcuffs) which means the officers believe some sort of crime was, is or is about to occur. She comes out front with a video camera and another person to record what is happening. At some point, before the video starts playing, she makes comments to the officers that are of an anti-police nature. The officers now have to not only be concerned with their initial contact (the male from the vehicle) but they have two other people that are causing their attention to be diverted. This has turned into an officer safety issue (remember, an officer's number one job is always to go home safe) as well as interfering with and delaying an officer, a criminal act.

The officers try to alleviate the problem by telling her and her friend to go inside the house, this is the lawful order. Good and her friend refuse so they have now failed to obey a lawful order and have broken the law. Good is the one that kept pressing the issue therefore she was arrested. Notice her male friend basically says nothing during the entire incident, he then runs his mouth with the other neighbors after the police have left.

It's always convenient and easy to side with a video (or the person who recorded the video) because most people take the video as a 100% accurate account of what happened but rarely, if ever, is a video 100% accurate. A video is a small slice of the total incident and only shows things from a single perspective, it does not give the totality of the circumstances.

*I say most actions because there are times during high-risk police operations that tactics may need to be shielded to protect and ensure the safety of the officers and/or the public. These situations are obviously an exception, I am not talking about day-to-day police work (traffic stops, responding to complaints, etc.).
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:26 PM
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that's another problem, a lot of these people that are filming cops during stops are trolling them. huge annoying example is the group of open carry citizens these days.

here is another example of the abuse of power that disturbs me
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:36 PM
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The one issue I have with your take Chip is the whole premise of the "lawful order" of "go inside your house" being legitimate.

I'm not defending the tool with the camera in this case, let me make that clear.

Standing on your own private property videotaping any police action on a public way from a distance of say 20 feet should not concern a police officer who is doing what he is supposed to and yet the Police and their union in particular has pushed to make doing just that a crime. In Illinois they use an eavesdropping law to charge people for doing it.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by AllBlack05S View Post
The one issue I have with your take Chip is the whole premise of the "lawful order" of "go inside your house" being legitimate.

I'm not defending the tool with the camera in this case, let me make that clear.

Standing on your own private property videotaping any police action on a public way from a distance of say 20 feet should not concern a police officer who is doing what he is supposed to and yet the Police and their union in particular has pushed to make doing just that a crime. In Illinois they use an eavesdropping law to charge people for doing it.
Keep in mind that it was nighttime, there was another person with Good as she was videotaping and she made some sort of anti-police comments that are not on the video. Again, it is the totality of the circumstances and the fact that the video only shows a small, edited slice of all that happened that night.

Based solely on the video and what is presented in it, I have no issue with the officers asking Good and her companion to go back inside the house.

Illinois does seem to have gone overboard with their interpretation of the eavesdropping laws.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:25 PM
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Just watched that Video, that lady was wrong. she should have gone back to her house and she could have continued to tape them from the door or window.
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Old 07-29-2011, 02:08 AM
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^^I whole heartedly disagree, and perhaps this is the journalist in me coming out. But this also assumes that she did not physically threaten the officer(s) in any way (it certainly did not seem that she did or would have).

I should preface this by saying that I have many friends and family in law enforcement, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for ANY officers of the law and the work that they do. However, we also have the right to free speech and freedom of the press.

She had the right to document whatever she wanted as long as she was at least on public property (i.e., sidewalk), the incident occurred on public property (which it did), and she was not in any way impeding the actions that the officers were engaged in (which she wasn't). This is a right that EVERYONE has, not just journalists. You can use audio, video, still cameras, or which ever medium you like. It is our freedom of the press. In this case, she merely documented the officers pulling someone over. She was well out of their way during the incident, and was absolutely NOT impeding their current actions in any way physically. If the officers found her a distraction, they need to get over it. Journalists document similar situations all the time. I guarantee if she was wearing a legitimate press badge of some sort, this would not have happened. The point is that it doesn't matter. It's EVERY citizen's right.

That said, it's my opinion that the officers were likely not doing anything wrong, but were made anxious by her presence and likely thought that she would edit the video in such a way that discredited their integrity. However, I believe that removing her forcibly (do not mistake that for "abusively") from her own property, let alone public property, was not warranted. (Obviously, the judge saw it the same way.)

If I were in a similar situation with my camera (and the event were newsworthy enough), I wouldn't have let them talk me down either.

EDIT - I think that I should also qualify what I have written by stating that, personally - and this is based solely from what I saw in the video - I don't think that the "event of interest," in this particular case, was newsworthy enough to warrant not complying with the officer's request. That said, there are many unknowns. It's entirely possible that Ms. Good made it clear to the officers, in one way or another, that this was merely an attention seeking stunt. On the other hand, it's equally likely that one of the officers said or did something to make Ms. Good feel as though the event was worth her time to document. The point is that we don't know. But regardless of the unknowns, she still had the right to document the situation using any medium she saw fit.
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Old 07-29-2011, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
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she could have continued to tape them from the door or window.
But without audio.
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Old 07-29-2011, 02:46 AM
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A bit off topic, but I needed to rant. While driving home with my wife and two kids today, I was driving down the highway in the leftmost of three lanes during rush hour traffic. I was pacing with the rest of traffic, which was flowing between 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit. There were two cars in front of me. A state trooper was parked on the right-of-way toward the median. As the first car passed (doing 70ish in a 60) the police officer put his lights and siren on, then gunned it spinning his tires. As the second car was passing, the police car began merging into the left lane (with the second car still there!). The second car had to partially move into the middle lane to avoid being hit, but there was a car there, so he couldn't move all the way over. Luckily I keep a pretty good eye on the traffic around me, so I had a clear path into the middle lane. Otherwise I would have either rear-ended the cop car or been rear-ended myself.

The first car proceded to make his way over to the right side of the road and then to the right-of-way, knowing that he was busted. The police car then did a 3 lane merge in one swoop, directly in front of the middle lane car (now in front of me) and a cement truck. The truck locked up his brakes and smoked his tires. There were a ton of other cars behind us, but my eyes were focused ahead, so I have no idea what other chaos ensued.

Did the guy deserve a ticket? Sure. Did the ticket warrant risking the lives of the rest of us on the road? A 10 mph speeding ticket? Seriously? It's times like this I wish I had a dash camera rolling all the time. I'd make sure it was posted online for all to see. What an asshat. Typically I'm a strong supporter of those sworn to serve and protect, but not today.
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Old 07-29-2011, 02:54 AM
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chip's right, without seeing / hearing what the officer referenced as "anti-law enforcement comments" we're armchair quarterbacking with 1/2 the facts.
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moxie View Post
^^I whole heartedly disagree, and perhaps this is the journalist in me coming out. But this also assumes that she did not physically threaten the officer(s) in any way (it certainly did not seem that she did or would have).

I should preface this by saying that I have many friends and family in law enforcement, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for ANY officers of the law and the work that they do. However, we also have the right to free speech and freedom of the press.

She had the right to document whatever she wanted as long as she was at least on public property (i.e., sidewalk), the incident occurred on public property (which it did), and she was not in any way impeding the actions that the officers were engaged in (which she wasn't). This is a right that EVERYONE has, not just journalists. You can use audio, video, still cameras, or which ever medium you like. It is our freedom of the press. In this case, she merely documented the officers pulling someone over. She was well out of their way during the incident, and was absolutely NOT impeding their current actions in any way physically. If the officers found her a distraction, they need to get over it. Journalists document similar situations all the time. I guarantee if she was wearing a legitimate press badge of some sort, this would not have happened. The point is that it doesn't matter. It's EVERY citizen's right.

That said, it's my opinion that the officers were likely not doing anything wrong, but were made anxious by her presence and likely thought that she would edit the video in such a way that discredited their integrity. However, I believe that removing her forcibly (do not mistake that for "abusively") from her own property, let alone public property, was not warranted. (Obviously, the judge saw it the same way.)

If I were in a similar situation with my camera (and the event were newsworthy enough), I wouldn't have let them talk me down either.
You are absolutely correct in that all persons have a constitutional right to free speech and freedom of the press. However, every state has a law forbidding the interfering with or impeding of an investigation.

In your opinion, Good was "well out of their way during the incident, and was absolutely NOT impeding their current actions in any way physically." Now, correct me if I am wrong here but, you have zero law enforcement training or experience, you were not at the scene, you have no idea what her actions were before the video starts and you are not an expert on police tactics, right?

If she were a legitimate member of the press, she would have been doing her job of documenting only and she would have followed the direction of the officers. She would not have been offering her opinions about law enforcement, arguing with the officer(s) and playing the ignorant fool that she is.

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Originally Posted by Moxie View Post
But without audio.
Nothing would have prevented her from opening the window and continuing to video and audio record.

--------------------------------------------------

I think what a lot of people are failing to take into account or choosing to ignore is that this incident actually had nothing to do with her videotaping the traffic stop. It had everything to do with her and her companion's presence being a distraction and an impediment to what the officers were doing.

And perhaps before people start feeling sorry for this knucklehead you should know that she has a criminal history of, among other things, interfering with or impeding an officer. She is also a member of a group that not only encourages but assists homeless people with squatting (illegally living) in foreclosed and otherwise unoccupied homes. She is far from some innocent little lady that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:49 AM
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Originally Posted by chipgrafx View Post

In your opinion, Good was "well out of their way during the incident, and was absolutely NOT impeding their current actions in any way physically." Now, correct me if I am wrong here but, you have zero law enforcement training or experience, you were not at the scene, you have no idea what her actions were before the video starts and you are not an expert on police tactics, right?

If she were a legitimate member of the press, she would have been doing her job of documenting only and she would have followed the direction of the officers. She would not have been offering her opinions about law enforcement, arguing with the officer(s) and playing the ignorant fool that she is.
You're absolutely correct, I have no law enforcement training. But I do have extensive training as a photojournalist (including a course in press law - which I do not mean to imply makes me an expert in press law - merely educated).

Regardless of what happened BEFORE (or her criminal history - which I'm in no way condoning), she was doing nothing at the time but recording with a video camera (from her own property). This is what she was arrested for. Granted, I can think of many instances in which the documentation of an incident could impede police action (and the officers would be justified in ordering her to stop), but this was certainly not one of them. Perhaps she did do something prior to recording the video that interfered in some way, but they should have arrested her for THAT action; not documenting the incident.

And journalists (or anyone else, including Ms. Good) most decidedly do NOT have to follow the orders of an officer if they are well within their rights in their actions (for example, Judith Mitchell - although I am in no way comparing the two situations here, just citing a general example). This is especially true when they are being censored. Most of the time they will. And in a situation like this, any rational journalist would have. But if I were in a public place taking photos of an officer in a similar situation, and he/she "ordered" me to stop because he/she felt uncomfortable or something, I would politely say "no" and ask them to ignore me (again, this assumes that the event is newsworthy).

I suppose I should make it clear that I'm not saying that she was "morally" justified (for lack of a better term off the top of my head) in some way for what she was doing. We don't have enough information to go on. But she had every right to take the video. The officer(s) simply could have ignored her as she documented, if it was distracting them in some way, and should have. If she did something PRIOR to taking the video, then action should have been taken then for whatever she did.

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Originally Posted by chipgrafx View Post
I think what a lot of people are failing to take into account or choosing to ignore is that this incident actually had nothing to do with her videotaping the traffic stop. It had everything to do with her and her companion's presence being a distraction and an impediment to what the officers were doing.

And perhaps before people start feeling sorry for this knucklehead you should know that she has a criminal history of, among other things, interfering with or impeding an officer. She is also a member of a group that not only encourages but assists homeless people with squatting (illegally living) in foreclosed and otherwise unoccupied homes. She is far from some innocent little lady that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Again, I'm in no way defending her intentions, just her right to be on her own property while passively documenting the situation. THAT is what she was arrested for.

I understand your position, and I can, and do, respect that you empathize with the officers. I do as well to an extent. But she should not have been arrested for doing what doing what she was doing at the time.
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Old 07-29-2011, 04:55 AM
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Perhaps she did do something prior to recording the video that interfered in some way, but they should have arrested her for THAT action; not documenting the incident.
She was not arrested for documenting, they never told her to stop taping, he told her to move away from them...

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Again, I'm in no way defending her intentions, just her right to document the situation. THAT is what she was arrested for.
Did we watch the same video?
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:16 AM
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Further information on the topic...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjbeY-yyZwE&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aOUu...eature=related

And a similar situation locally (for me)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srow3...eature=related

And in the interest of full disclosure and objectivity, this one supports Chip...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPlG_...eature=related
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